Magic moments: Industry execs share their favourite Music Week memories

Magic moments: Industry execs share their favourite Music Week memories

As you might have noticed, we’ve marked the 60th anniversary of Music Week with a special edition covering six decades. 

Dozens of big names from the industry – including UMG’s Sir Lucian Grainge, Sony Music’s Rob Stringer and Warner Music Group’s Max Lousada - picked their favourite career moments for our special issue.

We had such a huge response that we're sharing some of our favourites, featuring many of the industry's leading executives and plenty of bonus content. Enjoy!

“Without a doubt, my most treasured Music Week moment will always be the supreme honour of having been awarded the Strat Award in 2017. Being nominated by one’s peers is always humbling and to have been the first woman in nearly 30 years [after 1989 winner Sybil Beresford-Pierse] to receive such a prestigious award was an important reminder of the positive changes happening throughout the music business. Congrats to Mark and Music Week on your 60th anniversary. May you continue to highlight and guide the disruptors, the young people and the strong women who are navigating the uncharted waters of our rapidly changing industry.”
Sarah Stennett, First Access Entertainment

“Winning the first awards for both Rhino and ADA felt like real breakthrough moments and validated everything myself and the teams were working towards. Cheers, Music Week. Oh, and Damian Christian’s many acceptance speeches.....”
Dan Chalmers, Warner Music Entertainment/East West/ADA

“I got the bus into town to the WHSmith just to read Music Week from cover to cover. I’d daydream about being part of the industry and having my name in the magazine. Thanks Music Week for making that a reality. Congrats on 60 years!”
Nick Burgess, Parlophone

Anne-Marie being named Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2018 was a really special moment. We wanted to find the perfect plot for releasing her debut album and breaking her as a solo artist, and it was gratifying to watch our teams hard work be realised in that moment. Seeing her get this well-deserved accolade reinforced all the decisions we’d made along the way! Music Week has always been brilliant at supporting young up-and-coming British artists.”
Ed Howard, Asylum

“When I took over as CEO of ERA in 2004, it was in the midst of an unprecedented collapse in music sales and friends asked me if I was sure it was a great career move. My view was that, no matter the short-term challenges, the appetite for entertainment would never dim. Since then of course, things have turned around dramatically and I am extremely proud of the work ERA’s members have done to drive growth in music. The MW front cover in 2018 was a vindication of their work and ERA’s work in representing them.”
Kim Bayley, ERA

“From the days before I was in the music industry to the present day, MW has always been my window into the business. I used to buy it from a Soho newsstand and scour the inside back page for jobs. Here’s to another 60 years.”
Phil Christie, Warner Records

“Receiving the Company Award for Diversity in the Workplace at the inaugural Women In Music Awards in 2017 was a definite highlight. Winning awards is always great but to be recognised by Music Week, in front of all our peers, for our commitment to a diverse and inclusive company was extra special. Diversity is a key to success as having that essential mix of experience and expertise underpins the development of great ideas. Likewise, the diverse culture at Proper, both in the offices and warehouse, helps produce a thriving atmosphere. Having this celebrated was very important to us because we take it very seriously and so Music Week’s championing of those companies who do too, I think, is invaluable."
Drew Hill, Proper Music

Music Week continues to be a vital industry publication that consistently reports and examines the key moments in the evolution of our business. In April 2016, Music Week covered the launch of our Global Music Report, which showed the industry had returned to growth after nearly two decades of decline. I was quoted as saying that the revenue figures reflected ‘an industry that has adapted to the digital age and emerged stronger and smarter.’ Three years on, I believe that is still the case. The work carries on and record companies continue to drive a growing and evolving global music market.”
Frances Moore, IFPI

March 26, 2019, was a historic day for music creators; it was also my birthday. What better birthday gift than the EU Parliament passing the Copyright Directive, re-asserting the sovereignty of democracy over YouTube’s fancy: that it can buy The Future. Creators of every kind stand to benefit from this landmark legislative intervention online. In theory, it could bridge the ‘value gap’ and grow music’s online ‘cake’.”
Crispin Hunt, Ivors Academy

“Merlin's launch at Midem 2007 was a landmark moment in my career, signalling the start of an incredible journey, both professionally and personally, bringing me and my family halfway across the world. Since then, Music Week has faithfully covered Merlin’s growth and the increasing fortunes of the independent sector thanks to the proliferation of streaming. We close 2019 well into our third billion dollars of distribution, and growing by all measures. This is all way beyond what we could have ever imagined when we started out. Happy anniversary, Music Week, and thank you for your support!”
Charles Caldas, Merlin

“Having read the magazine every week since I first started my career aged 17, it was an honour to be asked to do the coveted Big Interview. At the time, Insanity had just celebrated its 18th anniversary, and the industry was about to go through some significant changes with the arrival of “on air, on sale” and the start of the music streaming revolution. Around that time, Jason [Iley] and I were discussing a JV between Sony Music and Insanity Talent Management to start a new record label. After the feature was published, my phone was ringing off the hook with senior executives offering us label deals, but I stuck to my word, and did the deal with Jason. Four and a half years later, we are celebrating a No.1 and No.2 album with Craig David, a Top 5 breakthrough with Tom Grennan, and collectively over 1.5 billion streams across the label. Music Week has always been at the forefront of the international music business, giving artists and executives a platform to talk about new projects and celebrate their achievements. I am forever thankful for the continued support of Mark and his team.”
Andy Varley, Insanity Records

Having read the magazine every week since I first started my career aged 17, it was an honour to be asked to do the coveted Big Interview

Andy Varley

“My favourite, personal Music Week moment is being presented with the Media Pioneer award at the 2016 Women In Music Awards, because it was my very first recognition from the music industry, having worked in it for over 20 years. The passion I had when I started is the same passion I have today. Music has always been a powerful force for change and this is why we continue to create, curate and celebrate. Long may it continue!”
Kanya King, MOBO

“It was a real honour be part of the team working on the release of Mark Ronson’s most recent album Late Night Feelings, especially being a project that was so personal to him. From incredible Club Heartbreak shows through to having the honour to spend time with the great man himself, it was an unforgettable experience. The Music Week cover launched off the back of the platinum single Nothing Breaks Like A Heart and marked our run into album release, whilst setting the agenda for the forthcoming campaign.”
Olly Rice, Columbia Records

“The first time I was featured in Music Week was a real honour for me. They did a feature on me and my time managing Wiley, where the grime scene was at the time and where things where going. It felt like a rite of passage within the industry. Music Week has been a staple of my reading and learning about the Industry for the last 15-20 years.”
John Woolf, Artist manager

“I started the first ever street team for Sony. When the BRITs was at Alexandra Palace, we hammered the route with poster-boards for Destiny’s Child and other Sony acts. Ajax Scott commented in his Dooley column that the team’s coverage was inescapable thanks to the gridlock leading to the venue. It was cool because this was the first time that this kind of activity was given any kind of exposure, and it put the spotlight on what we were doing throughout the industry.” 
DJ Semtex, Sony Music, Capital Xtra

“The first time I really connected with Music Week coincided with my first visit to MIDEM back in January 1979. Cherry Red had only been going a few months, and in those days Music Week chartered a plane and invited readers to fly down to Nice with them for a week. I hardly knew anyone on the plane and back then you didn’t generally make appointments in advance. But I sat next to David Howells and he, being an experienced MIDEM-goer, kindly gave me a list of people to seek out. I found I was booked into the Martinez Hotel, which turned out to be the hub of MIDEM nightlife and I never had a dull moment all week… And I even came back with a few deals as well. I had great time.”
Iain McNay, Cherry Red

“The first time BASCA (as it was then known) secured a front-page cover on Music Week was a very big deal, it remains something I am very proud of and really saw us making an impact as the voice of music writers. We launched a digital royalties campaign called The Day The Music Died, pointing out that the percentage of royalties from the digital services was sometimes as low as 3%; not anywhere near enough for songwriters or composers to earn a living out of. That percentage has creeped up over the intervening years to 20% on some services, and I’d like to think our high-profile campaign, launched in Music Week, had a lot of influence in that movement.”
Vick Bain, consultant/Ex-BASCA

“An important moment came in November 2016 when the magazine ran a piece on how the BRITs Voting Academy was becoming more inclusive. Earlier that year, the awards had been criticised for insufficiently reflecting the diversity of British music across its nominations – prompting a #BRITsSoWhite social campaign. We resolved to do something about it after a survey showed that just 15% of the Academy was made up of BAME members, while women only accounted for 30%. A Diversity Advisory Group was urgently formed with a pro-active plan to correct this. One year later, female membership of the Academy was at 48% and BAME representation had risen to 17%. It was important to show that we had listened and created an impetus for change, and, whilst there will always be more to do and we must guard against any backsliding, we can be proud that women now account for half the Academy, with BAME representation around the 25% mark. We can also look back on recent awards for artists including Stormzy and Jorja Smith, who also left their mark with breathtaking performances.”
Ged Doherty, BPI

“My MW memory is my debut appearance in the news article surrounding the stolen U2 tapes recorded during the Achtung Baby sessions at Hansa Studios in Berlin in April 1991. Work-in-progress DAT tapes were taken from the studio by an organised crime syndicate and appeared overnight as vinyl bootlegs at Kensington Market. Prior to MW reporting the news, we [then Island Records] and Principle Management kept the story under wraps whilst we removed the vinyl from circulation. I had the copies delivered to my flat (by Island Head of Sales John Pearson) and distinctly remember the first question from Paul McGuinness was, ‘What do you think of the tracks?’”
Alistair Norbury, BMG

“Approaching my 37th year in the music business next year, it’s been a fantastic journey and it’s been very difficult to pick out one moment involving MW as there’s been so many. I’ve always proudly framed the charts from MW when I’ve had a No.1 album. The role you have played in so many peoples’ careers has been outstanding. The most significant for me personally over the years was the front-page piece on the launch of Infectious Records in the Spring of 1993. This was the start of something brilliant and new which helped define my career over the years. I’m also still very proud that I was the first contributor to the Aftershow series.”
Korda Marshall, BMG

"We knew we had arrived as a label when we could afford a subscription to Music Week, rather than reading it in the newsagents. And again, later, when we could afford our own table at their annual awards bash, rather than being invited to sit with our kindly CD manufacturers. Many happy returns to a venerable British institution!"
Laurence Bell, Domino Records

"It was the interview I did with Mark just before I took up my post at AIM. The move between AIM and FAC had felt very organic and natural. So when Mark suddenly had me on the other end of the phone and was pressing me for my first three priorities for AIM when I was due to start a few weeks later, I had a very sudden feeling that ‘shit just got real’. This interview was a very important and memorable moment in my career working for the rights of the entrepreneurs in music."
Paul Pacifico, AIM

“Winning all the awards!!!”
Damian Christian, Atlantic

* To see the full range of Music Week moments, see this week’s print edition of Music Week, available now, or click here. To secure your print copy, email Rachael Hampton on To subscribe to Music Week and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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